“Once…there was a sparrow who was very ill. He could not go south with the rest of his family and so he sent them along, saying that he would find shelter for the winter and meet them in the spring. The sparrow looked his son in the eye and said, ‘I will see you again.’ And the son believed him.”
“The sparrow went to an oak tree and asked if he could hide in his leaves and branches for the winter to keep warm, but the oak refused. My grandmother used to say that the oak trees were cold, hard trees with tiny hearts. My grandmother…”
“Sorry,” he said. “Well, after this the sparrow went to a maple tree and asked the same question. The maple tree was kinder than the oak tree but it also refused to shelter the bird. The sparrow asked every tree he came to if they might house him from the deadly weather: the beech, the aspen, the willow, the elm. The all said no. Can you believe this?”
“Well, the first snow came,” he said. “And the sparrow was deperate. Finally he flew over to the pine tree. ‘Will you house me for the winter?’ the sparrow asked. ‘But I can’t offer you much protection,’the pine said. ‘I only have needles that let in the wind and cold.’ It is all right,’ said the sparrow, shivering. And so the pine agreed. Finally! And do you know what?”
“With the tree’s protection, the sparrow survived the long winter. When the spring came and the wildflowers bloomed in the hills, he was rejoined by his family. The son was overjoyed. He never thought he would see his father again. When the Creator heard this story, he was angry with the trees. ‘You did not shelter a tiny sparrow in need,’ He said. ‘We are sorry,’ said the trees. ‘You will never forget this sparrow,’ the Creator said. And after that, He caused all of the trees to lose their leaves each fall…well, almost all of the trees. Because it was kind to the poor bird, the pine got to keep its short little needles all winter long.”
---------------------------excerpt from the movie “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet“.